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Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough

Mornings on Horseback (original 1981; edition 1982)

by David McCullough

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Title:Mornings on Horseback
Authors:David McCullough
Info:Peter Smith Pub Inc (1982), Library Binding
Collections:Your library

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Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough (1981)



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This is an early McCullough, but still up to his standards. Of course, it's hard to fail with a character like Teddy Roosevelt, but McCullough's approach of concentrating on his early years and emphasizing his relationships with the rest of the family is especially illuminating. The young Roosevelt was a far different character than the charismatic president, and this book shows how it happened. ( )
  NellieMc | Sep 3, 2014 |
Mostly about Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (1831 – 1878) and his family. Only towards the end does the focus shift to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (who became President).
1 vote rakerman | Aug 9, 2014 |
Gift from Neal Scoones on the occasion of Theodore Kumar's birth.
  jcvogan1 | Jul 30, 2014 |
A big portion of the book focused on the tight knit Roosevelt family and on Theodore Roosevelt' asthma. He excelled at Harvard and much of his asthma affliction went away. The book up to and after Roosevelt's years in Harvard was pretty good. Then after that the book got far less interesting. I got to feeling as if the last half of the book was condensed and all the good stuff was taken out. ( )
1 vote CJSTheWriter | Jul 27, 2014 |
It took me two weeks to read through this book, but not because it was dull. Quite the contrary--I found it much more compelling than I expected. There's a reason this book is still so highly acclaimed and reviewed after thirty years. McCullough creates an interesting narrative, but the source material helps. The Roosevelts are just plain quirky and interesting. Anyone who delves into research knows original source material is best, and the Roosevelt family kept an incredible number of diaries and letters. Teddy, from the age of ten, kept diaries. As an adult, he wrote many books and was estimated to have written over 150,000 letters. Many of those are cited.

Teddy Roosevelt is known for being an asthmatic child, an athletic huntsman as an adult, as a Rough Rider. As a boy he longed for anthropological adventures. He was hunting and doing his own taxidermy before he was a teenager. He was extremely knowledgeable about birds and other wildlife and it's easy to see why as President he did so much to expand the National Park system and establish conservatories. His family was incredibly wealthy but also very close. His older sister, Bamie, was always crippled; other families might have sent her away, but instead the entire family worked around her needs and she became an elderly family matriarch known for her keen mind. Teddy was also tended to by both parents as he suffered from terrible asthma. He wasn't simply handed off to servants. The family lived and suffered together, and survived. His mother was a Georgia girl who became a New York City socialite; during the Civil War, she waited until her pro-Union husband was out of town, and she made care packages to send to her brothers serving in the Confederacy.

I could go on and on. There were so many intriguing stories within stories. I really enjoyed the childhood years the most. When Teddy starts into politics, he's harder to relate to. He suffers the terrible blow of losing his beloved mother and his wife on the same day from different illnesses, and just four days after his daughter is born. After that, he retreats to the Bad Lands where he earns respect as a genuine cowboy. I really wish the book had gone on another decade, for my own selfish research purposes, but it ends at a good point: his return to New York City, to a new marriage, and a return to politics.

To my own surprise, I'm left wanting to know more about Teddy Roosevelt. I'll be seeking out more books. ( )
1 vote ladycato | Apr 5, 2014 |
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In the year 1869, when the population of New York City had reached nearly a million, the occupants of 28 East 20th Street, a five-story brownstone, numbered six, exclusive of the servants.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671447548, Paperback)

Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as "a masterpiece" (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and almost fatal asthma attacks, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household in which he was raised.

The father is the first Theodore Roosevelt, a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. The mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, is a Southerner and a celebrated beauty, but also considerably more, which the book makes clear as never before. There are sisters Anna and Corinne, brother Elliott (who becomes the father of Eleanor Roosevelt), and the lovely, tragic Alice Lee, TR's first love. All are brought to life to make "a beautifully told story, filled with fresh detail", wrote The New York Times Book Review.

A book to be read on many levels, it is at once an enthralling story, a brilliant social history and a work of important scholarship which does away with several old myths and breaks entirely new ground. It is a book about life intensely lived, about family love and loyalty, about grief and courage, about "blessed" mornings on horseback beneath the wide blue skies of the Badlands.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:27 -0400)

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This biography of young Theodore Roosevelt covers his youth when he demanded a strenuous life despite his asthma, weak eyes, and patrician family.

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